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Certificate Signed Email Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015492D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Apr-11
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20

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Certificate Signed Email solves the problem of unsolicited email commonly know as spam. Similarly to how Java Certificates sign Java Applets, Email Certificates sign email documents and are used by the receiver to verify the sender’s and document’s integrity. Each email sender owns a unique Email Certificate to sign all email documents before sending. Each email receiver may configure their email server to either accept or reject emails based on Certificates. If accepted, the receiver will receive the email as email is received today. However, if rejected, the sender will not gain any information about the intended receiver; i.e. the receiver’s email server will respond with a default message stating either the user does not exist or does not accept the email. This may be compared with trying to contact via telephone someone who is not home and has no answering machine. All rejected emails will be logged and accessible to the intended receiver, similar to a Caller ID caller list. The default server behavior would be to reject all email. Hopefully, spammers will be discouraged by their complete lack of success. Each sender may also include several Certificates. For example, each employee would have an individual certificate, and access to department, division, and company Certificates. Using several Certificates, the sender would be able to successfully send email to anyone accepting any of those Certificates. In this same manner email receivers could subscribe to general advertising Certificates; perhaps one would exist for automobile or electronics advertising. 1